Archive for the ‘North Dakota’ Category
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 19, 2016
20-year-old 23-year-old Somali man by the name of Dahir Adan who was resettled in Fargo in the mid-1990s when he was 1-year-old has been identified as the attacker who knifed 10 people Saturday at a mall in St. Cloud, Minn. An off-duty police officer shot and killed Adan during the attack. All 10 of the victims were released from the hospital. St. Cloud authorities said during a news conference that they are investigating the stabbing as a possible terrorist attack, and investigators have not yet found anything to link Aden to the Islamic State, though the group claimed him as a “soldier.” Adan and his family moved from Fargo to St. Cloud around six years ago according to a woman in Fargo who knew the family. The Fargo Police Department reported that Adan never came onto their radar during his years there, and that there is no sign that any radicalization is occurring in Fargo. A board member of a mosque in south Fargo said his organization has worked closely with local police and the FBI to report anyone suspected of taking a fanatical route. Miami defense attorney Khurrum Wahid who has worked to integrate young American Muslims into American life, said in a 2011 splcenter article, however, that some police have approached young Muslim men and demanded they act as community informants, of suffer retaliation from police. Wahid said that police instead need to build trust with young Muslims by telling them that they are wanted in our communities, and by showing them that they treat “terrorism” from non-Muslims in the same way. He points out that some Muslim youth are socially disenfranchised and searching for identity; that what can alienate young Muslim people is their interaction with the community around them. There’s a feeling of not fitting in, of being very different, especially vis-à-vis non-Muslims. It’s been worse in the last decade, with growing Islamophobia, as well as inflammatory statements coming from political candidates. Young Muslims can begin a journey out of compassion for injustices, perceived or real, committed against Muslims. Often this is combined with very little knowledge of the Koran and the teachings of Islam. Their hope to do something important and stop the injustice can lead them on a search for information, and when they don’t get it from local sources they go to the Internet. Wahid suggests programs like those used to fight gangs, with funds to help young people take part in positive activities. Aid could also be used to assist American Muslim parents to help these young men through any identity crisis, and bring them back into the American fold. An article at the Fargo Forum has the details from Fargo:
FARGO, N.D. — In the wake of a random stabbing attack at a St. Cloud, Minn., mall over the weekend, Fargo’s Somali community is trying to come to grips with the unsettling fact that the suspect grew up in the city.
The family of 20-year-old Dahir Adan identified him as the man who knifed 10 people Saturday night. All 10 have been released from the hospital, St. Cloud authorities said.
Adan, who was born in Kenya, and his family left Somalia as refugees and settled in Fargo in the mid-1990s when he was 1-year-old, said Fowzia Adde, a local Somali leader. Adan attended Fargo Public Schools until his family moved to St. Cloud at least six years ago, she said.
“If it can happen to them, it’s not far away from me, so what can I do to prevent?” she wondered. “What can I do to save my children?”…
The Islamic State has claimed Adan as a “soldier,” but St. Cloud authorities said during a news conference on Monday that investigators have not found anything to link him to the militant group. Though, just the possibility that a young man raised in Fargo was radicalized and committed an act of terrorism had local officials concerned.
“If it happens in St. Cloud, it could happen in Fargo,” Mayor Tim Mahoney said.
Chief David Todd said Fargo police gave the FBI basic information it had about Adan and his family. Todd said Adan never came onto the radar of Fargo police.
“I don’t have any indication that radicalization is occurring here in Fargo,” the chief said.
In a joint statement, Mahoney and Todd said residents should not react to the St. Cloud attack based on fear, rather they should be vigilant in reporting suspicious activity…
Adde called for the Somali community to work to steer youth away from groups like the Islamic State.
“We need to sit down, understand what’s going on with our children, help them understand who they are,” she said…
Dr. Mohamed Sanaullah, one of the…board members [of the Islamic Society of Fargo-Moorhead, a mosque in south Fargo], said people who commit attacks in the name of Islam are not Muslims. He said the society has worked closely with local police and the FBI to report anyone thought to be taking a fanatical route… Read more here
Posted in alienation-isolation, discrimination, FBI, men, Muslim, North Dakota, police, right-wing, security/terrorism, Somali, St. Cloud, teens, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism, young adults | Tagged: Crossroads Mall, Dahir Adan, Fargo, immigration, Islamic State, Khurrum Wahid, Muslim, refugees, resettlement, St. Cloud, youth | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 7, 2016
A federal judge imposed a 15-year sentence on a Minnesota man accused of starting a fire that heavily damaged a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks in North Dakota. Matthew Gust, 26, of East Grand Forks, Minn., broke the front window of the Juba Cafe, owned and run by former refugees, and threw a Molotov cocktail into the building Dec. 8, 2015. He previously pleaded guilty to arson and a hate-crime charge. Gust ignited the fire, which caused over $150,000 in damage, days after a Nazi-like symbol was spray-painted on the restaurant’s exterior above the words “go home.” Other businesses in the building were also affected. In 2012 Gust plead guilty to charges of terrorizing, simple assault and preventing arrest, all Class C felonies, after he threatened staff at Romantix, an adult entertainment store in downtown Grand Forks (frequented by some men from the LGBT community). He also plead guilty to assaulting a police officer in 2011. An article at the Fargo Forum has the details:
FARGO — A man who set fire to a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks will spend 15 years in prison.
Matthew Gust, 26, of East Grand Forks, Minn., broke the front window of the Juba Cafe and through a Molotov cocktail into the building Dec. 8, 2015.
A federal judge imposed a 15-year sentence during a hearing Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2016, for Gust, who previously pleaded guilty to arson and a hate-crime charge.
According to federal prosecutors, Gust purchased gasoline, filled a 40-ounce beer bottle and through the Molotov cocktail into the restaurant. The Molotov cocktail exploded on impact, causing an explosion and fire inside Juba Cafe, which sustained more than $150,000 in damages… Read more here
Posted in crime, hate crimes, North Dakota, right-wing, security/terrorism, Somali, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: arson, fire, Grand Forks, hate crime, immigration, Matthew Gust, refugees, resettlement, restaurant, Somali | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 22, 2016
Protest at Valley News Live, May 22, 2016
After a local TV station in Fargo in North Dakota aired an inaccurate and inflammatory news report this week on refugees and tuberculosis a group of over 100 protesters showed up at the station today to protest the report. Health officials in North Dakota and Minnesota told The Forum that refugees do not pose a serious health risk with tuberculosis. An article and video at The Fargo Forum covered the protest:
FARGO – Around 100 people chanted “Just tell the truth!” as they protested a Fargo TV station on Sunday following a report it aired about the supposed health risks of living near refugees.
The report on Valley News Live on Monday, which said “everyone” living in “refugee resettlement areas” was at risk of getting tuberculosis, drew condemnation from the immigrant community and even elected leaders.
…Fargo Deputy Mayor Mike Williams spoke at the protest, publicly criticizing the report….
Health officials in North Dakota and Minnesota have told The Forum that refugees do not pose a serious health risk with tuberculosis. Refugees are screened for the bacterial disease, which is also treatable… Read more here
Posted in health, North Dakota, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: Fargo, immigration, North Dakota, refugees, resettlement, TB, tuberculosis, Valley News Live | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 19, 2016
The far-right fringe is currently attempting to provoke fear among the public with false information about refugees spreading tuberculosis. A media outlet in Fargo in North Dakota, referred to locally, mockingly, as “Valley Hate Live”, is telling viewers that “everyone” living in “refugee resettlement areas” is at risk. Local and state health officials, however, refute such claims, pointing out that North Dakota has one of the lowest rates of tuberculosis in the country: 1.19 cases per 100,000 residents – nine cases of active tuberculosis – down from 15 cases in 2014. They also point out that the disease is not highly contagious. An article in the Grand Forks Herald has the story:
…Dr. John Baird, health officer at Fargo-Cass Public Health, …said refugees do not pose a public health risk with tuberculosis. He said the bacterial disease is “not a major problem for our community”…
Asked if living in a refugee neighborhood would pose a health risk, North Dakota Department of Health tuberculosis expert Dee Pritschet said, “I don’t know why it would be.”
North Dakota has one of the lowest rates of tuberculosis in the country: 1.19 cases per 100,000 residents. In 2015, it had a lower rate than 44 states and the District of Columbia. There were nine cases of active tuberculosis in North Dakota that year, down from 15 cases in 2014.
Minnesota has a higher rate than North Dakota—2.73 cases per 100,000 residents—but remains below the national average. Minnesota saw 150 cases in 2015, up from 147 cases in 2014…
Health officials say tuberculosis is low on the list of diseases Americans should be worried about. It’s spread through the air but not highly contagious, unlike measles or influenza, said Doug Schultz, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health.
To get infected “requires prolonged, close contact,” he said. “Just being in the proximity of someone with tuberculosis, you’re considered a low risk”…
Refugees are screened for health problems before entering the U.S. and again upon entry. They are tested for tuberculosis and are not allowed entry if they have active tuberculosis…
Refugees are not required to be vaccinated against tuberculosis. The tuberculosis vaccine has not been proven to be effective, and it’s not used in the U.S., health officials say…
The U.S. does not block people who have latent tuberculosis because it “is extremely common in the rest of the world and it’s not contagious,” Baird said.
Health officials acknowledge latent tuberculosis can become active. Schultz said that happens 5 to 10 percent of the time.
“Can we really humanely not allow them to come to the U.S. because of a disease that they might possibly develop?” he said. “We have individuals in the U.S. who travel to countries all the time where other infectious diseases are common and they can certainly bring those back with them. … That’s probably a greater risk than allowing refugees who may have latent tuberculosis”… Read more here
Posted in health, North Dakota, right-wing, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: Fargo, fear, immigration, public health, refugees, resettlement, scaremongering, tuberculosis | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 22, 2016
Refugee and immigrant women and those working with them in the Fargo-Moorhead (North Dakota/Minnesota) area are working together to help refugee women overcome isolation and cultural barriers. Isolation results from being uprooted from traditional cultures that placed a strong emphasis on community and family, and from communities where women lived in close contact with extended families. Isolation intensifies from cultural differences, language barriers, and a lack of opportunities to connect with local people in the United States. Moving into a very individualistic society can also make it harder for them to recover from the trauma of experiences they suffered as refugees. An article at the student newspaper The Concordian explains:
Darci Ashe…has worked with…refugee women for more than 20 years. She is a…former longtime employee at Lutheran Social Services, and the current Director of Development at the New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment, or WE Center, in Fargo…In all of these roles, Ashe has been exposed to the challenges that these women face. The greatest obstacle she sees in the lives of the female refugees she works with is a sense of isolation. Many of them come from villages where family and friends lived side by side, offering companionship and sharing the burden of childbearing. When they come to America, they leave this community behind…
Jonix Owino is not a refugee, but she is familiar with the experience of transitioning to American life as an African woman. She has also seen this kind of isolation at work. After completing her undergraduate work in her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya, Owino moved to Fargo to obtain her master’s of sociology degree at North Dakota State University. One day after moving to Fargo, she had a conversation with a refugee woman who had been in America for more than 10 years.
“I asked her, ‘Who are your friends? What are your networks?’” Owino said. “She told me that she had nobody outside of her immediate family.”
Owino was inspired by this one woman’s experience to complete her master’s thesis on the isolation of refugee women in America. She designed a study to see if such isolation was a common theme among all refugee women in the area and interviewed ten refugee women, all 40 years or older and from different countries. She found that all of them, to some extent, were experiencing the same isolation.
While compiling her research, Owino found that some of the most common causes of this isolation were cultural differences, language barriers, and a lack of opportunities to connect with local people. Many of these women are escaping war and violence in countries that placed a very strong emphasis on community and family. “Moving into a very individualistic society can make it harder for them to recover from their very distressing lives,” she said.
For this reason, Owino and Ashe agree that women like Adde, who come to America without a spouse or children, are at an advantage. Without a husband to rely on they are forced to integrate; to receive government benefits they are required to go out, learn English, and get a job…
Even when refugee women are able to find work and some sense of community, culture shock can still prevent them from growing accustomed to their new life.
“For a lot of the women, where they’re coming from, there’s already a kind of oppression,” Ashe explains. “And so when they come to the U.S., often times women are struggling to kind of figure out how to maneuver in that more progressive atmosphere.”
In many ways, this new, progressive society can bring with it new forms of oppression. Many of the traditions and customs that these women have known their whole lives are no longer acceptable when they come to America, and they are forced to choose between carrying on a tradition that is considered inappropriate or to give up a piece of themselves… Read more here
Posted in acculturative stress - adaping to a new land/culture, alienation-isolation, Kenyen, North Dakota, Somali, women | Tagged: cultural barriers, Fargo, female, immigration, isolation, North Dakota, refugees, resettlement, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on March 29, 2016
Matthew Gust – right-wing poster boy?
A Minnesota man accused of starting a fire that heavily damaged a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks in North Dakota is now facing charges of using a destructive device during a crime of violence (a Molotov cocktail). That charge carries a mandatory minimum term of 30 years in prison and a maximum of life. Matthew Gust is also charged with arson, a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison The fire, which caused about $90,000 [correction: $150,000] worth of damage, was ignited days after a Nazi-like symbol was spray-painted on the restaurant’s exterior above the words “go home.” Other businesses in the building also were affected. In 2012 in Grand Forks county district court Gust plead guilty to charges of terrorizing, simple assault and preventing arrest — all Class C felonies — after he threatened staff at Romantix, an adult entertainment store in downtown Grand Forks (frequented by some men from the LGBT community). He also plead guilty to assaulting a police officer in 2011. An article at Minnesota Public Radio has the details of the newest charges:
Federal prosecutors have beefed up charges against a Minnesota man accused of starting a fire that heavily damaged a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks.
Matthew Gust, of East Grand Forks, Minn., appeared in court Monday on a charge of use of a destructive device during a crime of violence. That charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum term of 30 years. It is the second charge in the case… Read more here
An article at The Grant Forks Herald has more details from the case:
…Matthew William Gust, 25, East Grand Forks, was charged Friday with arson, a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, in Grand Forks County District Court. A judge signed a warrant for Gust’s arrest, and police were looking for Gust Friday evening.
The FBI confirmed Thursday it had opened an investigation into the arson attack at Juba Coffee House and Restaurant to determine whether any federal laws had been broken. Federal charges could still be leveled if investigators and federal prosecutors find reason to pursue them… Read more here
Posted in court, hate crimes, North Dakota, police, right-wing, security/terrorism, Somali | Tagged: arson, Dakota, Grand Forks, hate crime, immigration, Juba, Matthew Gust, refugees, resettlement, restaraunt, Somali | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 20, 2011
An article in Public Radio International’s The World explains the issue of managing refugee children in their transition to a new culture — in particular, their newfound power of dialing 911. The article also explains related language-barrier problems.
Fargo police officer Cristie Jacobsen has responded to a lot of 9-11 calls, but few with less urgency than this one. “A teenage girl called the police on her mother because her mother had prepared a very simple ethnic meal for her and she didn’t like it,” said Jacobsen.
Coming to a new nation as a refugee — adjusting to a new language, culture, and climate — is always a struggle. But now in Fargo, North Dakota many refugee parents are being manipulated by their children.
Refugee children have been calling the Fargo Police because they don’t want to do the dishes or wear a particular shirt. They’ve also gotten a lot of calls about this: Parents were taking away their kid’s Mountain Dew.
“The children didn’t like it,” said Jacobsen. “Because they had gotten used to drinking it, they enjoyed the caffeine splurge and things like that and so it became a power struggle.”… Read more here
Posted in children, cultural adjustment, language, North Dakota | Tagged: 9/11, children, Fargo, police, refugees, resettlement | Leave a Comment »